This advice note sets a maximum threshold in hectares for a “very limited portion” of conversion. 

FSC does not accept the conversion of natural forests and the transformation of plantations on sites directly converted from natural forest except in specific cases and meeting strict criteria:  it can affect only a ‘very limited portion’ of the management unit, it has to produce benefits to the environment and social aspects, and it cannot pose any harm to High Conservation Values (HCVs). 

This Advice Note has been developed in response to the Implementation Note to Motion 37/2021: Required changes to the FSC Principles and Criteria to implement the Policy to Address Conversion, approved by FSC members at the 9th FSC General Assembly, which requested the establishment of a maximum limit in hectares for the concept of ‘very limited portion’ with the aim of strengthening the overall approach to conversion. Until now the definition in the FSC Principles and Criteria only specified that to be considered a ‘very limited portion’, the area shall not exceed 5% of the management unit irrespective of whether the conversion activities have taken place prior to or after the organization has obtained FSC Forest Management certification.  

This Advice Note sets the ‘very limited portion’ of a management unit to a maximum of 1,000 hectares and provides the possibility for standard developers to set a lower or higher hectare threshold following FSC requirements for standard development processes. It also provides guidance on how the hectare threshold applies to an organization according to different periods when the conversion occurred.